Chaos in Print

Pop quiz hot shot. Three beautiful women walk up to you and ask you to star in a music video. What do you do? I found myself in that situation about 6 weeks ago. Actually, it all started much more innocently than that. I was in the computer lab just minding my own business. These three TV students from across the hall came in, saddled up beside me and asked one simple question. “You’re not shy in front of a camera, are you Mark?” Well, most everyone who knows me knows I shamelessly mug for a camera so I said, “I’m more comfortable than you think.” That’s when they sprung it on me. “We’ve got to make a music video for our production class and we want you to star.”

First question I asked was, “Well, what’s the song?” They went into their pitch. The song was that 1992 classic, I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. The concept was me and one of my fellow radio students were a couple of stoners who crash a party. As the night goes on, we get drunker and drunker, and we wake up the next morning next to an ugly fat chick. Truth be told, they had me at “I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred.” I’d been making music videos to that in my basement since the song first came out. Naturally, I said yes.

So, as the weeks go by, they don’t tell me much about the video, they just drop the odd tidbit as we pass each other in the hallway. “Hey, Mark, we got that other radio student we wanted to star.” “Hey, Mark, no one else in the group wants to hire a professional ugly fat actress, so we’re going to have to compensate somehow.” “Hey, Mark, you know that Hawaiian shirt you always wear? With the martini glasses on it? We’re hoping you can wear that.” “We can’t afford catering, so be sure to bring a lunch, Mark!” And finally, the one tidbit I had been sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for. “Hey, Mark, is next weekend good? That’s when we’re going to film.” They slip me an address and tell me when to be there.

At this point, I still hadn’t seen a script.

Bright early on Saturday morning, I head out to the set. I pull on up to the house we’ve chosen as our location and…the place is deserted. I think this is odd, but I still walk up the front door and ring the bell. The people who answer the door are a little confused that I’m there. “Uhh, you’re not filming here until this afternoon.” I immediately whip out my cell phone and dial the emergency contact number they gave me. Turns out, this was the second location. The first location was about five blocks away. I thanked my reluctant hosts for their hospitality and peeled out to the right location.

I showed up at the right location and found the crew hard at work filming my co-star. At this place, we were filming all the “getting ready for the party” scenes: acting silly in front of the mirror while I brush my teeth, comb my hair, and such forth. They still had more scenes to do with my co-star, so I just made myself comfortable while I waited my turn.

About an hour later, I was called to the set, and given the order my mother was dreading that they’d give me: take off your shirt. My first scene was a shower scene; me getting out of the tub dressed in nothing but a towel. They figured that if I took off my shirt, wrapped the towel around my waist and never showed my feet, I wouldn’t have to be naked. So, I remembered the words of the great actor David Duchovney: “All nudity is gratuitous.” I ripped off my shirt and got in the shower. I filmed all my shower scenes with gusto, flinging open the shower curtains to show my bare chest and towel.

At this point, I still hadn’t seen a script.

When we were done with the shower, I got dressed and it was time for the next scene. This was to be the opening shot: my buddy and I sitting around, bored out of our gourds, and coming up with the idea of crashing the party. Now, this was the television industry I had been warned about. Do it like this, do it like that. Now do it just like that AGAIN so we can film it from this angle, and this one, and this one. Of course, before we began, my co-star and I got the big lecture about how sensitive the microphone was and how we should do our best not to make any excess noise. When they we done, my co-star and I turned to each other and snickered. TV kids lecturing the radio kids on how to use a microphone. And the TV kids hated every course that had to do with microphones. Ahh, such delicious irony. Luckily, my co-star and I were adept at playing stoners, and we wrapped for lunch.

After lunch, we convened at our second location – the place I had arrived at earlier. Now, they were ready for us. This was the place where we were to film our party scenes. The crew set up, we awaited our extras, and I waited. And waited. And waited. This is the part of moviemaking that sucks. I just don’t like waiting.

Our extras showed up, they filmed the establishing party shots, and now they were ready for me. My directions were simple: dance like an idiot. I busted some moves, and they figured it was time to take things to the next level. In my dancing, I should get…physical with one of the women. I should perhaps…grind my body against her. Now, the way I was raised, it’s impolite for a gentleman to grind himself against a strange woman. But, I knew the success or failure of this assignment depended on my performance, so I sucked it up and ground my heart out. The woman had such a stunned reaction that they decided to use that take. And I was apologizing to her for the rest of the shoot.

At this point, I still hadn’t seen a script.

We finished shooting the party scenes, and once the extras had left the set, it was time to film the morning after scenes, and again I got the order: take off your clothes. I had been warned that I had to wear nothing but boxers for this scene, but I had certain…parts that I didn’t want…captured on film for posterity. Yeah, I was wearing my boxers, but with two pairs of briefs on underneath. And that’s when we I met our ugly fat chick. They decided to go in a different direction for homely. One of the male members of the crew stripped down, put on a bra and some horrible make up, and got into bed. That’s when my co-star and I were given the direction: get into bed with him.

Luckily, I got the more palatable role. I was they guy to be repulsed by this “woman”. My co-star was the one who was “into” her. The scene we needed to capture on film. I wake up, am repulsed by what I see, wake up my buddy and I hightail it out of there. And there we were, three men in a bed, one dressed like a woman, cracking whatever sick jokes we could to avoid realizing that we were three men in a bed, one dressed like a woman.

We were unsure of how to end the scene. We knew that I was to smack my buddy to wake him up, give a “let’s get outta here” gesture, only for him to reply with a, “Why?” shrug. I figured that maybe I should end it by not waiting for my buddy and just sprinting away. But, because of how little room I had in the bed, just sprinting away was difficult. I wound up falling out and landing flat on butt. They liked it so much that I did again for every take following. And I’ve got the bruised tail bone as my badge of honour.

Once we were done that…unpleasantness, we did some minor pick up shots: me and my co-star arriving at the party, some close-ups of us dancing, and such forth. The trickiest shot was my co-star and I arriving at the party, which involved me driving the world’s scariest pick-up truck. No seatbelts, no brakes, and a very sensitive gas pedal. How we finished alive is miraculous.

And at this point, I still hadn’t seen a script.

We finished our filming and I hoped I could resume my life as normal. But, as the week at school went by, strange things were happening to me. Some of the TV students would smile and wink at me as we passed each other in the halls. The TV instructors would look at me and shake their heads. One even asked me, “Mark, how did you let them talk you into doing that?” I just said, “Pop quiz, hot shot. Three beautiful women walk up to you and ask you to star in their music video. What do you do?” One thing’s for sure. I’ll never be able to show my face on the NAIT campus again once it’s screened for the whole school in a month.

And at this point, I have yet to see a script.

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